Prof. Dr. Karin Kukkonen

Research Interests:

History of the Novel; Narratology; Cognitive Approaches to Literary Theory


Karin Kukkonen's main research interest lies in the novel, approaching the genre from transmedial, historical and cognitive-formalist angles. Her doctoral dissertation engaged with narrative patterns in comics and graphic novels. In her postdoctoral projects, she investigated the impact of classicist poetics on the novel in eighteenth-century Britain and the development of a novelistic language of embodiment in translations, re-writings and manuscripts. More recently, she has devised a theoretical model for literary narrative based on classicist takes on probability/vraisemblance and current theories of predictive processing in cognitive sciences and philosophy.

Project Abstract

(A)synchronous Temporality: Translating Antiquity (joint project with Prof. Dr. Eva von Contzen)

The project investigates (a)synchronicity through the temporal dimension of narrative in translation. We foreground three aspects: (1) the temporal dynamics of the plot; (2) the temporal distance of the narrator to the events told; (3) the “implied temporality” of the translation to its historically distant original. We pursue these aspects through a detailed analysis of Chaucer’s “The Knight’s Tale” (as a reworking of Statius) and Charles Gildon’s early modern translation of Heliodorus’ Aethiopica, to develop a narratologically and historically informed understanding of (a)synchronicity.

Curriculum vitae


Since 2017    Professor of Comparative Literature (University of Oslo, Norway)

2015-2017      Associate Professor in Comparative Literature (University of Oslo, Norway)

2013-2015      Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Research Fellow (University of Turku, Finland)

2010-2013      Balzan Postdoctoral Research Fellow (University of Oxford, United Kingdom)



Dosentti (Finnish Postdoctoral Qualification, comparable to the German Habilitation), 

Comparative Literature, University of Turku, Finland


Doctorate, Media Culture, University of Tampere, Finland and English Philology, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Germany

Major Awards and Funding

2019                 The University of Oslo's Younger Researcher Award

2019-2023      "Literature, Cognition and Emotions" (Strategic Priority HF, UiO, NOK 20 Mio)

Selected Publications

2022. "Chrononarratology: Modelling Historical Change for Narratology." Narrative 30 (1): 26-46. (co-authored with Dorothee Birke and Eva von Contzen).

2020. "The Speed of Plot: Narrative Acceleration and Deceleration." Orbis Litterarum 75: 73-85.

2020. "Does Cognition Translate? Predictions, Plot and World Literature" Poetics Today 41 (2): 243-260.

2019. 4E Cognition and Eighteenth-Century Fiction: How the Novel Found its Feet. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2017. A Prehistory of Cognitive Poetics: Neoclassicism and the Novel. Oxford: Oxford University Press.